Tag: writing

The Business Benefits of Interdisciplinary Study

By Mary Arczynski, Guest Consociate Media Blogger & Recent James Madison University Graduate, Double Majoring in English and Economics

It’s a question that comes up frequently.

In a world of specialized jobs, concrete career paths, and specific job requirements, why did I choose to study two seemingly disconnected majors like English and Economics? The answer: because I like to read, I like to write, I like math, and I like anticipating the behavior of others. They also happen to be the subjects I am passionate about and feel competent in. But most importantly, the two majors challenge me as much as they challenge each other.

Double majoring in English and Economics makes sense because it is not expected. As a study combination, it surprises and intrigues people.

Proficiency in writing and editing is the beneficial skill of an English major that is regularly mentioned to me. It is true that an English major requires a lot of writing practice and that this is a beneficial skill in almost any profession. But, English is also very interpersonal. Every time I open a book, I examine the inner thought process of an author.

Instilling a passion and dedication to reading creates a socially and emotionally aware individual.

It constantly exposes one to other cultures, religions, geographical settings, and logical thought processes. I believe it to be a safe assumption that in a person’s career, one will work with many people who come from an array of different backgrounds in any or all of these categories and more. Books, fiction and non-fiction alike, provide insight into the experiential context of other peoples’ lives that one cannot physically experience his or her self. Furthermore, reading and textual analysis increases cognitive abilities on a micro and macro level. An English major focuses on word choice, sentence structure, character development, historical setting, etc. At the same time, a reader must pay attention to the overarching themes of the novel and the questions, “why does this book matter,” and “how does this book change my outlook on the world?”

Economics gives me the hard skills I need to succeed in the business world. It requires a sense of mathematical ownership and acceptance of current truths. There is a certain amount of rigidity and discipline that comes with the mathematical side to Economics- not every answer can be right. Economics teaches that in the world there are an unlimited number of wants with a limited number of resources. It shows current inefficiencies in resource distribution and creation. It gives me an appreciation for the excellence and innovation that competition demands. It also teaches anticipation of the actions of others by examining cause and effect, and the correlations and causations of natural and human occurrences. Studying economics gives me the sensibility and courage to accept the world in a real way, as it is now. This acceptance allows me to think of tangible, constructive solutions to problems in business, life, and the problems of the human community. Furthermore, from a functional standpoint, it shows me to appreciate each person as a valuable resource.

So, how does interdisciplinary study apply to the business world?

The most important benefit of an English major entering the business world is idealism. Books provide social commentary, and challenge society to be better by fostering goals. Economics instills a very pragmatic way of thinking—which is important for an idealist. But pragmatism alone does not lead to large-scale advancements just as idealism alone achieves nothing. Pragmatism can create a pattern of complacency in its practicality, whereas solely being idealistic paralyzes decision making, because people and businesses cannot perfectly achieve their goals one hundred percent of the time. Interdisciplinary study has given me knowledge and proficiency in the soft skills of reading and writing, and the hard skills of math and science, but more significantly, it has made me a pragmatic idealist. I have expectations of bettering society, and I use economics to think of practical step-by-step measures to bridge the gap between idea and reality. I realize that not everyone can have the same number of resources, but I also do not lose sight of the emotional part of humanity that we must embrace in order to progress as people, a business, or as the human race. Economics shows where the world is now, and provides options for how to take the next step. English fosters the cognitive ability that creates finish lines for these logical, pragmatic steps, finish lines that may or may not ever be reached, but will be run toward nonetheless. When one has the means and the end, success in business and in life is inevitable.

By no means am I implying that everyone in the world should be an English and Economics double major. Rather, I encourage others, especially those in the business world, to break the mold of what is stereotypically “useful” in certain segmented career paths. Different fields of study have a lot to learn from one another, but unless experts can meet each other halfway, then bridges between different subjects are hard to cross and the comparative advantage of different fields of study are not used to their full advantage. The people that can embrace and accomplish many different methods of thinking are the life-long learners, the adapters, the innovators, and the leaders. They put themselves in the way of success because they do not aspire to what is expected, but rather, aspire to create and excel past our current society’s expectations.

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Strong Interdependent Men and Women

Recently I (and this is Steph Heinatz writing) had the pleasure of meeting Mary Arczynski, a recent graduate from Virginia’s James Madison University with degrees in English and Economics.

She believes in the power of education and the inspiration of words, both spoken and written, to lift people out of hopelessness and poverty. She aspires to learn from each person she meets and to make every person she meets happier for knowing her.

Those are her words, not mine. That’s how wonderful this aspiring writer is – currently, Mary is doing a year of service working in a Title I elementary school in Denver, CO.

She loves learning, nature, reading, hiking, soccer, kind humor, tea, puns, poetry and people. We love people, too, and Mary’s writing, and are pleased to present this essay by Mary which we loved reading and asked her if we could share.

Please meet Mary here, through her writing, and enjoy this piece on men, women, life and business.


Recently, I got into a long discussion about feminism and the Kelly Clarkson song “Miss Independent” with my friend Brian. The phrase “strong, independent female” gets thrown around a lot in my generation. For me, this phrase always conjured about connotations of a financially independent female who does not rely on a romantic relationship, or a boyfriend, for money, validation, or self-worth. I always took this phrase to be an empowering compliment. But is true independence really what we want and need?

As a woman who desires to enter the business world soon, do I really want to be called independent? Will having an, “I can do everything on my own,” an, “I don’t need the help of anyone to get things done” attitude really make me the best employee, the most successful person I can be? I used to argue that independence meant that one has the ability to choose dependence, but I do not believe that is true anymore. We are ALL dependent on someone, but if that is true, then that means that someone else is also probably dependent on you—whether that is for love, for food, for support, or for a budget sheet needed for a contractual negotiation. No one is solely independent or solely dependent, rather; we are all interdependent on the skills, strengths, interactions, or work provided by one another.

Once I forego the mindset that my independence proves my ability to be a strong woman, a smart person, or a good employee, I recognize the real power that it takes for leaders to recognize the strength in others and to trust the strength in their teams. All of the leaders I respect most in my life recognize their interdependence, and the way I see that manifest in the business world is through delegation of work and appropriate recognition of the quality people working around them. One of the most inspiring things I hear people in positions of power say is, “I am always looking to hire someone who is smarter than I am.” We all have weaknesses, acceptance of interdependence allows us to seriously look at our weaknesses and find other people that can turn those same weaknesses into strengths. That can manifest in who you hire, who you ask to work on a team with you, or who you ask for advice when you do not know how to do something. It is through our acceptance of our interdependence that we empower one another and become the best employee, the best boss, and the best version of ourselves.

The song may be titled “Miss Independent,” but at the end of the song, Miss Independent falls in love. The beauty of love is that it allows for the acceptance and support of imperfection both in us and in others. It might seem radical to apply to the workplace, but most people spend equal to, or more, time at work than they do with their own families. We should surround ourselves with people who make us the best work-version of ourselves in the workplace. They should challenge us, praise our skills, and help us to surpass our limitations. When a team is not just existing as separate pieces, but really performing, the interdependent relationships are apparent, as is the love. The love can manifest in mutual respect, appreciation, or concern for how your coworker will do on his or her portion of the project—call it whatever you want. But once we recognize that not one of us can do something completely alone, trust happens, specialization happens, efficiency happens, and high employee and company performance happens.



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#MYFAVORITETHINGS, by Stephanie Heinatz

Stephanie Heinatz writing at night MacBook Lab

By Stephanie Heinatz, Founder

I love a good list. To do list. Shopping list. Any list.

When it came time to sit and think about a list of my favorite things that I use in my day to day work life in helping companies of varying sizes with their public relations and marketing, I found myself in hog heaven. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite things that help me stay inspired, organized and productive for our clients.


If you know my husband, you know he’s always got jokes. If he’s joking on you, it means he has lots of love for you. One of the things he used to tease me about, when I was still a daily newspaper reporter, was that you could always tell which desk was mine in a newsroom. Where most writers would have stacks of papers and notes all over their desks, mine was most often clean. Structured. Organized. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the notes. It was more that, even as a newspaper lover, I hated the idea of papers in sight.

All of my research and notes, I would transcribe and save into Word doc or PDF files on my computer.

Fast forward to today and my desk is still just as clean, but I’ve found a far more efficient way to store my notes. Enter Evernote.

It’s a life workspace. A work workspace. The most glorious workspace.

In Evernote, I can collect, save and catalog the pages of magazine articles or ad design concepts. I can take notes, transcribe audio interviews, make to do list. Oh, my! The list goes on.

The best part? Being on the go all the time, I can access Evernote from the app on my iPhone or my Mac desktop.

Evernote. Definitely one of my favorite things.

Garden & Gun

Growing up, there are a few songs and country music artists that my Mom would play on repeat. Alabama and Song of the South was among the top (and Elvis…my Mom loves Elvis).

Perhaps it was that early introduction to the south, to country, to the southern way of life (even though I spent most of my early childhood in Germany) that attracted me so strongly to Garden & Gun magazine.

From the well designed advertisements, to the recipes, stories of triumph, quintessential southern life, literature (hello…William Styron, Virginia native), you can almost always find me with the most recent copy of Garden & Gun magazine…and photos of pages I want to save and ads that inspire me for future creative projects cataloged in Evernote.

Inc. Magazine

At the time of this writing, Consociate Media is nearing its fifth year in operation, and it’s third year of my family taking the giant leap into a 100 percent entrepreneurial lifestyle (Rudy, my husband, left his well-paying corporate job because he believed in this company and what we are doing and wanted to help it grow).

But none of it has come without its challenges.

There have been months when our team members have received their paychecks, but Rudy and I have not because cash flow or accounts receivable fell. We have lost some contracts due to clients suffering from budget cuts. We’ve been hit with hard deadlines that have taken all nighters to complete, huddled around the dining room table. There have been missteps in learning to communicate with an entire team your vision for a project or establishing a culture of a company, and finding the right project management tool to unite us all.

I could go on about all the lessons learned. Why? Because we are a small start up.

I could also go on about all the great things we have accomplished – working with the top rated cybersecurity firm in Virginia (also listed as the 16th best in the world), getting referrals from clients (the biggest compliment we can receive), seeing a client’s name in the Wall Street Journal after eight months of working that media angle, seeing sales soar for a new apparel company thanks to a social media strategy. The list goes on.

What does that have to do with Inc. Magazine? There are a lot of business magazines out there, but Inc. has found a voice that’s both approachable, inspiring and educational.

Every day, I find an article to read online and every month that magazine finds its way onto my coffee table and in my purse.

The Local Scoop Magazine, Williamsburg Edition

I once read an email from Tim Ferris that highlighted a time in his life when he started focusing on the things that make him go “hell YEAH!” If it doesn’t make you say “hell YEAH!” then think about if it’s the right thing to be doing in your life, in your business.

I thought long and hard about the message he sent in that email letter.

Then I sat down and wrote a list about all of the things in life that make me go “hell YEAH”!

My son and husband – #familyfirst – topped that list. But when it came to the professional endeavors I’m a part of, The Local Scoop Magazine and its Williamsburg edition was the first project that came to mind.

Why? For full disclosure, I was asked to serve as the magazine’s first editor this year. The inaugural issue comes out this month, November 2015

But more than that, I love the brand and values The Local Scoop was founded on. Stories are always local, always fresh and always focused on the things in life that motivate and inspire us.

As a former newspaper reporter, I grew up and cut my teeth writing sad news stories. It’s a vital piece of the fourth estate and one that while difficult for reporters to do today I greatly respect.

But there is a place in this world for feel good. Feel good stories help put people in a positive place. It helps them feel good about this world. And when you feel good, you do good.


Ticketleap’s key message is clear – the great experience anyone has at an event starts when people buy their ticket. It’s true and it’s why we continue to use this platform for any and all the events we’ve helped promote and plan, from annual Oktoberfest parties to wine festivals and oyster crawls.

Ticketleap makes it easy, allowing organizations to set up their own accounts and then brand their online ticket event page with images, logos, colors and details.

The best part? They make payment easy. You can have a check mailed straight to you when the event is over or have funds deposited right into your account.


Selling online could not be easier with Shopify, which streamlines the entire process for online retailers or brick and mortar organizations looking to expand online. Just ask MarkerNine.com, ShopUpSouth.com, Lowe-Tide.com. These are all small companies who sell with Shopify.

This platform makes it possible and approachable for small companies and start ups to grow and scale their business. Best part? The platform offers retail and wholesale account solutions, an ability to track traffic to the site, export reports on sales, input invoices, connect to social media, blog and more.


MailChimp. When done right, email marketing remains one of the most important and powerful ways to drive sales, conversions and brand awareness. Send better emails with MailChimp. When you join MailChimp, you join the more than 9 million people who use MailChimp to design and send 600 million emails every day.

Reasons we love MailChimp? For one, not every small business has the luxury of having a graphic designer on staff. MailChimp makes drag and drop easy and provides options to make every email look customized. For another, we’re addicted to the statistics. Use MailChimp and find out who’s opening your emails, clicking through to your web site and more.

We use it ourselves and for our large clients. I love it that much.

Reporter’s Notebook

I’m a prolific note taker. Prolific I tell ya!

In meetings, at conferences, while watching the news, you can always find a handy notebook near by.

I used to only use the long skinny reporter notebooks that fit well in the palm of your hand. I still love those, but I am definitely a sucker for a Moleskin, a legal pad, a tiny spiral notebook. Anything I can take a note on.

Sharpie Fine Tip Pens

Speaking of notebooks, is there anything sweeter than a new pen, especially a Sharpie Fine Tip to jot down those notes? Moments after typing this, I opened a new package of Sharpie Fine Tips and wrote a note down. Not because I really had anything to remind myself about, but because I wanted to use my new pen WRITE away.

The Quiet of the Night

It’s true. I send emails late at night. Sometimes it’s because of deadlines. But sometimes it’s because the house is quiet. I’m snuggled up on my couch, usually with a dog beside me, and covered up with a sweatshirt blanket my husband bought me in the OBX of North Carolina years ago.

The lights are often low. And in the quiet of the night, I write. I read. I work…alone. And often these are some of my favorite times, which makes the quiet of the night one of my favorite things.

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Consociate Media Welcomes Matt Sabo as Lead Writer, Communications Associate

Consociate Media, a Gloucester based public relations firm, is proud to welcome Matt Sabo to the team as Lead Writer and Communications Associate.

With more than 20 years of professional writing experience, Sabo is excited to tell stories of entrepreneurs and businesses through writing, editing, blogging and across various social media platforms.

Consociate Media, headquartered on Main Street in Gloucester, Va., was founded in 2011 by Stephanie Heinatz, a former newspaper reporter who worked alongside Sabo at the Daily Press. Consociate Media provides public relations, communications and marketing support to businesses of varying sizes and multiple industries. Clients stretch from New York to Gloucester, Williamsburg to Virginia Beach, and beyond.

“I write because it’s my passion and I’m fueled by the stories I have the opportunity to tell,” Sabo said. “Being a writer has taken me places I’ve never imagined, given me amazing experiences I didn’t foresee and allows me to meet extraordinary people. It never grows old.”

Sabo was born and raised in Bend, Ore., and went on to graduate from the University of Portland after receiving a track scholarship. After working as a reporter for various newspapers in Oregon, Sabo and his family relocated to Virginia in 2004 when Sabo landed a job at the Daily Press of Newport News.

Sabo took a sabbatical from the world of reporting in 2014 to work for the Transformational Education Network (TEN3), a Christian non-profit missions organization. With TEN3, Sabo traveled to Africa and Haiti helping church leaders and educators in those countries start Bible-based computer training schools. Today, Sabo pastors a non-denominational church in Gloucester.

“I view writing with Consociate and the expertise we offer as a team as an opportunity to elevate lives and see entrepreneurs and business owners succeed in the work they’re so passionate about,” Sabo said.

In his free time, Sabo enjoys raising his children, missions work, Wiffle ball, gardening and road trips.

Learn more about Consociate Media at www.consociatemedia.com.

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Meet Matt Sabo

Matt Sabo. What can we say? His way with words. His style as a reporter. Quite frankly, we’re inspired by him. We’ve read his work for years and now he’s part of the Consociate team!

This introduction is proof of his talents. Read on.

Matt was born and raised on the mean streets of east Bend, Oregon. It’s an old mill town hard along the Deschutes River where the big skies of the central Oregon High Desert meet the piney eastern slopes of the Cascades mountain range. In Bend, Matt became a dead-eye with a BB gun shooting targets in the patch of juniper trees and sagebrush next to the cemetery across the street. He also honed his craft of blowing up tree stumps with bombs manufactured out of packs of tricolor sparklers duct-taped tightly together that truly elevated the fun at the Fourth of July get-togethers with friends.

He became an accomplished long distance runner, eventually competing in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in the steeplechase. Matt credits his very large older brother with developing his running abilities by virtue of the fact that after ambushing his mountain of a brother, typically with a dart or other sharp projectile delivered expertly to the backside, Matt would peel out the back door squealing like a banshee knowing that if he made it to the cemetery, he would probably live because his brother would run out of steam.

Matt earned a track scholarship to the University of Portland, thanks to his large, older brother, where he dabbled in journalism studies while running lots and lots of miles through the Rose City. In short order he met his soon to be wife, Julie. He actually was introduced to her by friends on the track team the night before she gave birth to a son, Brenton, becoming a single mom. After a 16-month courtship, Matt and Julie married and he pretty much has kept her pregnant ever since. Over the next 24 years of wedded bliss, the two would yield 13 offspring, if our math is right. We’re happy to report that during that time, Matt and Julie have only on two occasions driven off after losing count of the kids. Thankfully, they were only brief abandonments and the kids were quickly recovered and required little in the way of counseling.

In 2004, Matt and his family —  we believe at the time he and Julie had around nine kids, maybe 10 at the most — left Oregon for Gloucester, Va. A newspaper reporter, Matt took a job with the Daily Press and worked out of the Gloucester bureau covering all the major news of the county. Like the rogue non-native oysters from an experiment gone awry that managed to slip away and grow to be the size of dinner plates. And he covered other big stories, such as how long it takes to be here before you’re no longer a `come here.’ (It turns out that your mother has to be born here before you’re no longer a ‘come here.’)

Not content to take the easy path of life and just work and raise 14 kids, Matt would also plant and pastor a non-denominational church in Gloucester — Calvary Chapel Gloucester — and become a missionary with Serving In Mission. He would quit his job at the Daily Press and spend his time pastoring and in missions, traveling to Africa and Haiti to work with an organization called the Transformational Education Network to help church leaders and educators in those countries start Bible-based computer training schools. He continues his pastoring and missions work, though Matt and Julie appear to be holding steady (as of today) at 14 kids.

With Consociate Media, Matt is totally stoked to tell stories of entrepreneurs and successful businesses, through writing, editing, blogging and on social media. Writing has been a lifelong passion and Matt and looks forward to meeting great people, connecting with them and helping them grow their business.

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